Real Madrid maestro Cristiano Ronaldo retained his top spot as the world’s highest-paid athlete as Forbes released its annual ranking of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes.
With earnings of £71.8million ($93m) the 32-year-old Portuguese is top of the pile for the second consecutive year.
Before Ronaldo, the best-paid sports star was either Tiger Woods or Floyd Mayweather for 15 years in a row.
Woods ranks No 17 this year, while Mayweather did not make the cut, having had no fights over the past 12 months.
Cost of admission to the 2017 list is the highest ever at £16.5m ($21.4m), up £463,000 ($600,000) from the previous year.
‘Massive TV contracts are fueling bigger salaries across team sports, pushing the entry level to qualify for the top 100 athletes higher than ever, but the retirement of several prolific endorsers like Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant dented sponsorship income this year,’ said Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor of Forbes Media.
The list of elite athletes consists of players from 11 different sports. Basketball dominates the list with a record 32 NBA players among the top 100, up from 18 in 2016, followed by baseball with 22 players, American football with 15 and football with 9.
There are 21 countries represented on this year’s World’s Highest-Paid Athletes list, with Americans (63) the most prevalent thanks to sky-high salaries in basketball, football and baseball.
Six Brits landed in the top 100, led by golfer Rory McIlroy at No 6 with £38.6m ($50m).
NBA player Al Horford (No 44 with £21.7m ($28.1m) heads five athletes from the Dominican Republic, while three Spaniards made the cut with Formula One’s Fernando Alonso on top at No 20 with £27.9m ($36m).
No other country had more than two athletes in the 100.